Former President Jimmy Carter signaled Monday that Chinese leaders had rebuffed his request for an amnesty for political prisoners linked to the mass protests of 1989.

Carter, in a speech to China's future diplomats Sunday, called for an amnesty for all non-violent dissidents and raised the issue again in talks with Communist leaders, including party chief Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng."Their basic reaction was that the judiciary of China is independent of the administrative leaders and that the past trials were not conducted on the basis of expression of opinions but only active crimes of violence or subversion," he said.

"I don't accept this statement as being completely true, of course," he told reporters shortly before winding up his three-day visit.

"That's the explanation given to me."

Thousands of dissidents were rounded up after the army's bloody crackdown on political protests in Beijing on June 4, 1989.